Understanding the Family Research Council

The latest “Washington Update” email from the Family Research Council serves as a near-perfect example of how the group operates.  The first section complains about reports that former Senator Tom Daschle has been tapped to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration:

As Majority Leader, Daschle was a notorious opponent of every pro-life measure. He blocked the partial-birth abortion ban, voted for taxpayer-funded military abortions, and supported a measure that would have forced Americans to pay for the distribution of the morning-after pill to young school girls. Apart from his extreme political ideology, the selection of Daschle is even more troubling because the South Dakotan lacks any experience in the public health arena. To most Americans, who thought this election was about “change,” these appointments must seem incredibly ironic.

The very next section then praises President Bush and current HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt for implementing last-minute changes that would “deal a crippling blow … to the pro-abortion movement”:

He may technically be a “lame duck,” but President Bush is going out with guns blazing. With just two months left in office, the administration dealt a crippling blow to online gambling and is prepared to do the same to the pro-abortion movement on conscience exemptions. Despite an uproar from the usual liberal suspects, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is putting the finishing touches on a rule that would create a hedge of protection around health care providers who object to abortion or other procedures on moral grounds. The regulations, which HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt has promoted for months, would bar anyone who receives federal funds from discriminating against pro-life doctors, nurses, or other medical workers because of their beliefs. Pharmacists would also be exempt from dispensing drugs that could end an innocent life — like the abortifacient RU-486. If approved before the President leaves office, the rules would be a giant leap forward for the entire medical community, some of whom have been pressured to compromise their convictions on the job. Of course, there is some danger that President-elect Obama would undo HHS’s hard work, but it would be a long and arduous task. Like much of the radical abortion camp, he says these rules would create a hurdle in “women’s health care.” However, his argument is severely flawed, considering that abortion is not — nor will it ever be — true health care. While Obama says he wants to “reduce abortions,” his promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act means he’s not opposed to forcing people to perform them. Thanks to Secretary Leavitt, more Americans understand that the people who oppose these rules, including President-elect Obama, are the ones imposing their beliefs-not the men and women of faith. As Leavitt said on his blog, “Our nation was built on a foundation of free speech. The first principle of free speech is protected conscience. This proposed rule is a fundamental protection for medical providers to follow theirs.” Please let the administration know how much you appreciate their perseverance on conscience protections. Log on to secretarysblog.hhs.gov/my_weblog and leave Secretary Leavitt a comment expressing your gratitude.

To FRC, Daschle is completely unfit for the office not only because he doesn’t share their anti-choice views, but also because he “lacks any experience in the public health arena.”  But they don’t seem to have similar concerns about Leavitt:

Prior to his current service, Leavitt headed the Environmental Protection Agency and was elected three times as the Governor of Utah. During his eleven years as Governor, Utah was recognized six times as one of America’s best managed states. He was chosen by his peers as Chairman of the National Governors Association, Western Governors Association, and Republican Governors Association.

Prior to his public service, Secretary Leavitt was president and chief executive officer of a regional insurance firm.

Hmmm … I don’t see any “experience in the public health arena” among Leavitt’s previous jobs as head of the EPA, Governor, or insurance company CEO.  So maybe it is not really the “experience” thing that is bothering FRC, but primarily the abortion thing.